Truncus arteriosus

Alternative Names

Truncus

Definition of Truncus arteriosus

Truncus arteriosus is a rare type of in which a single blood vessel (truncus arteriosus) comes out of the right and left ventricles, instead of the normal two (pulmonary artery and aorta).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

In normal circulation, the pulmonary artery comes out of the right ventricle and the aorta comes out of the left ventricle, which are separate from each other. Coronary arteries (which supply blood to the heart muscle) come out of the aorta just above the valve at the entrance of the aorta.

Signs and tests

A murmur is usually heard when listening to the heart with a stethoscope.

Treatment

Surgery is needed to treat this condition. Two procedures are available.

Expectations (prognosis)

Complete repair usually provides good results. Another procedure may be needed as the patient grows. Untreated cases result in death, often during the first year of life.

Review

Kurt R. Schumacher, MD, Pediatric Cardiology, University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center, Ann Arbor, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/21/2009

Heart, section through the middle

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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